Three tornadoes reported in Wednesday storm
Last updated 5/26/2023 at 12:12pm
Wednesday night’s supercell thunderstorm produced three tornadoes, dumped more than 3 inches of rain across eastern New Mexico and left hundreds of area residents with broken windows and trees and damaged rooftops and vehicles.
Tornadoes were reported 4 miles south-southwest of Wheatland, 2-3 miles east-northeast of Grady and 11 miles northwest of Pleasant Hill, according to Jennifer Shoemake, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.
No damage was reported from any of the twisters, Shoemake said.
Plenty of damage was reported from hail, high winds and flooding throughout Roosevelt and Curry counties.
Shoemake said the largest hail stone reported was tennis ball size near Causey. Clovis, Grady and Texico all reported egg size hail.
The strongest wind gust from Wednesday’s storm was recorded at Grady – 92 mph. Cannon Air Force Base reported an 83-mph wind gust, Shoemake said.
The most rain reported to NWS was 3.15 inches at Ned Houk Park north of Clovis. The city of Clovis reported 2.65 to 2.75 inches, Causey collected 3 inches of rain and Portales reported 3/4 of an inch to 1.5 inches.
Power was out across Tucumcari until early afternoon Thursday. Xcel Energy reported 600 customers were without power at 3 p.m. Thursday, most of those in the Clovis area.
Tornado sirens blared in Grady and Farwell on Wednesday night and at least one twister was photographed by Adam Lucio, a Dallas-area storm chaser who caught it near Grady north of Clovis.
The Clovis Police Department reported power lines were down, street lights were damaged and streets were flooded late Wednesday night.
Social media reports provided evidence of the damage.
Deanna Finch of Clovis said her neighbor's tree was in her swimming pool this morning.
The Grady Baptist Church had multiple windows knocked out.
Julie Olufson, who lives near Tiffani and Fred Daugherty in Clovis, said, "We had a raging river next to our house."
A wall was knocked down at Red Arrow where patrons were playing bingo. Witnesses said no injuries were reported but vehicles appeared to be damaged.
Roosevelt County Sheriff Javier Sanchez said he received reports that four utility poles were knocked over during the storm. One of those downed poles blocked Oasis Road, but Sanchez said all county roads were open by Thursday morning.
"I got a call from a lady (Wednesday) night that had about golf ball size hail,” Sanchez said. “But she said that her trampoline ripped through her yard and over her roof, over some trees and went about 100 yards down the road.”
Dan Heerding, the Clovis/Curry County emergency management director, said he saw five pivot sprinklers flipped near State Road 288 and County Road N.
Most of the areas where tornadoes were confirmed were in “a lot of ‘no man’s land,’” Heerding said.
Courtesy Nicole Dalton
The greater damage Heerding saw was in town.
“You can really see damage on Prince Street: The Wendy’s sign is shattered, two traffic signals at Prince Street and the North Plains Mall entrance (were damaged),” he said.
Heerding and other city officials were asking residents to set debris from the storm on the curbs rather than placing it in dumpsters.
“City crews will be by in the next few days to pick up,” Heerding said.
The forecast calls for a possibility of more rain today with small hail possible. Friday has the potential for more severe thunderstorms and a 60% chance of rain.